The Diagnosis. (MS)
March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
🧡MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS(MS)🧡 is a rare disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of nerves.
In MS, resulting nerve damage disrupts communication between the brain and the body.
Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom free most of their lives, while others can have severe chronic symptoms that never go away.
Physical therapy and medications that suppress the immune system can help with symptoms and slow disease progression.
• Fewer than 200,000 US cases per year
• Treatment can help, but this condition can't be cured
• Requires a medical diagnosis.
• Lab tests or imaging often required
• Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
SYMPTOMS: Requires a medical diagnosis Multiple sclerosis causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity, and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom free most of their lives, while others can have severe chronic symptoms that never go away.
PEOPLE MAY EXPERIENCE:
Pain areas: in the back or eyes✔️
Pain circumstances: can occur in the back due to head nod or with eye movement✔️
Tremor: can occur during precise movements, in the hands, or limbs
Muscular: cramping, difficulty walking, inability to rapidly change motions, involuntary movements, muscle paralysis, muscle rigidity, muscle weakness✔️, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, clumsiness, muscle spasms, or overactive reflexes
Whole body: fatigue, dizziness, heat intolerance, poor balance, vertigo, or weakness. Sensory: pins and needles, abnormality of taste, reduced sensation of touch, or uncomfortable tingling and burning
Urinary: excessive urination at night, leaking of urine, persistent urge to urinate, or urinary retention Visual: blurred vision, double vision, or vision loss✔️
Mood: anxiety ✔️or mood swings✔️
Speech: slurred speech or impaired voice✔️
Also common: constipation, depression, difficulty swallowing, difficulty thinking and understanding✔️ flare, headache, heavy legs, numbness of face✔️ rapid involuntary eye movement, sleep deprivation, tongue numbness, or difficulty raising the foot (these common symptoms happened prior to my episode)
* I am not able to disclose or provide any legal information. This is all from personal experience.
**Seek medical assistance from a healthcare professional.
I am writing this in archive/segments because this is a lot of information to go over. I am supposed to be “resting” but honestly, my first initial thought is.. all I want to be doing right now is blogging. It is my therapeutic outlet after all.. just didn’t know when exactly was the right time for me too pick back up again, especially with everything still going on..
Well, here it goes.. on January 23, 2018 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
“Be still for I am with you” - God
Which is why I took a break from everything “ReeshesPieces” to concentrate on the NOW & most importantly..ME. It was all so surreal & acute. Although, this is a very sensitive/personal subject for me.. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to share this or not (I didn’t want any pity or to be judged) but in the end, I want to share all my experiences with my fellow bloggers/audience & use this as my coping mechanism by spreading awareness of MS. I’ve had sleepless nights & with that I knew I needed to talk about it.. that it will make me feel better. Even I wasn’t very informed of MS, I've heard of it but nothing more. Many of the people I've told don’t know much about it either.. so I am writing this to share my experience and raise awareness. I know every case of MS is different but this is MINE.
“Nothing is a coincidence, everything happens for a reason..”
So very true. It all happened so fast. I want to say.. ONE week. The news took me by surprise in ONE week. It is still so surreal. It was sudden.. because that is what MS is, a sudden disease. Quite frankly, I wouldn't have even known whatever was going on with me because I FELT COMPLETELY NORMAL. That's the ironic part about it.
Saturday, Jan.13 - I was experiencing a headache (Btw, I never usually get headaches.) I can remember exactly when it had happened too, just bending down from my computer desk & getting back up. I felt this pain. I'm thinking "Oh, I have a headache.." which I ignored because typically, we usually just let headaches go unnoticed because I thought it would just go away on its own, in like a day or two.. it's a headache? However, I did specifically notice a faint pain in my LEFT EYE whenever I would move my eyes. If I looked in a specific direction or too quickly I could feel this uncomfortable ache.
Sunday, Jan. 14 - Same symptoms. I was still able to drive.
Monday, Jan.15- My Dad/sisters' birthday. Woke up and noticed my LEFT EYE had this red ring radiating around my cornea leading up towards my eyelids? Made an appointment to meet with my Optometrist later that afternoon. During the evaluation I mentioned my symptoms & was told...
- Your eyes are dry & inflamed lay off contacts/ follow up in a week. (I hate wearing my glasses but now I had to for a week to heal my dry-eyes)
- The eye movement pain may be from sinusitis (I felt no sign of congestion anywhere) I would have to meet with a Primary Care since it is does not associate with the eye doctor.
- Later on that night I went to Target to pick up some Sudafed for my probable sinusitis and carelessly stepped off the sidewalk with incorrect landing and twisted my ankle.. Never experienced a fall like that before.
Tuesday, Jan. 16- Still the same. Still able to drive & run errands. But now I had a new focus which was tending to my ankle.
Wednesday, Jan.17- Same as previous day. Still able to drive. Later on that night I was really bothered by my eyeglasses & wearing it is uncomfortable plus it is an old prescription. The Optometrist couldn't clear me for new lenses until we had my eye-inflammation under control.
- I noticed that colors were more faint in my left (affected) eye and not as bold as my right.
Thursday, Jan. 18- This was the day everything started to slowly progress & I started to Google symptoms... Learned this, DON'T!! Just go get help ASAP.
Woke up and decided to drive myself to Urgent Care (because I figured that since I was planning to go in to see the Optometrist shorter than a week to fix my glasses/contacts I wanted to know why the eye pain isn't healing..) but honestly, I felt like something or some sign from God was telling me to go.. so, I went just to have a peace of mind.
Went into Urgent Care with no symptoms of common cold but when the nurse took my vitals.. "You have a 100.4 °F fever" took me surprise because I didn't feel like I had a fever?
Saw the doctor & he evaluated me..
- "Does this hurt? Touching all over my face. Inhale, exhale, follow my finger.." No, just eye pain.
- "You don't have a sinus infection..I will refer you to a specialist.. an Ophthalmologist, wait 3-4 business days for your referral to kick in.."
- I admit, of course I was getting impatient & frustrated that I wasn't getting any answers.. I knew I had to shorten my follow up appointment with the Optometrist & made an appointment the following morning.. All in the process of trying to expedite my referral to the Ophthalmologist.
- I ended up leaving Urgent Care with the fever & later read that increase in body temperature can heighten inflammation...Hmm.
Friday, Jan. 19- Quickly progressed & was no longer able to drive.
- Due to the emergency status of my condition I was able to get in touch with an Ophthalmologist for a 3:05PM appointment that afternoon.
- 10AM appointment with Optometrist.
- My vision changed drastically within 3 days! Ran new tests & compared the two.. Dr. noticed that on my left eye, I was 20/20 on Monday & was now 20/50... I WAS STARTING TO LOSE MY VISION IN MY LEFT EYE -- Now, I was panicking!
- Red eye was healed.
- However, he still thought it could be from sinus pressure but saw this time that my optic nerve was inflamed & advised that I keep my Ophthalmologist appointment.
- Ophthalmologist ran tests, dilated my eyes & saw that my optic nerve was in fact inflamed. Immediately ordered a brain MRI the following morning at 8:30AM as well as blood work to test for Optic Neuritis.
Saturday, Jan. 20- Field of vision was getting worse, like a big gray filter covered me from seeing anything out of my LEFT EYE.
- Brain MRI. Never had an MRI done before.. I was pretty nervous for it. I was looking up everything about it the night before. But I think I was more worried about the process.."What if i'm claustrophobic?", "What if I freak out in there & have to start all over again!?.. Dressed in a gown got called back & the time actually wasn't so bad. I felt very comfortable & just knew it HAD TO BE DONE!
- Seeing more signs from God; when the Radiologist was setting up, she asked if I would like to listen to any genre of music i'd like.. automatically I thought of Bruno Mars, lol. Buut I decided to go to with what helps me relax at night before I go to sleep.. which was 80's/90's R&B. Playlist was great.. then 2nd to last song before my MRI was over.. "Mama- BoyzIIMen" comes on. The water works started flowing.. OMG! I couldn't open my eyes because I didn't want to mess up the imaging but then & there it felt like God or my grandma was there to tell me it was all going to be OK..
Sunday, Jan. 21- Even though I wanted to get my blood work done immediately after my MRI, they did inject a contrast dye into me where I had to wait 24hrs. for it to clear my system until I could get blood work done.. so, this morning I woke up early & went to the only location that was open to do blood work for Optic Neuritis. I hate getting my blood drawn but it wasn't all too bad & i'm so relieved that the phlebotomist was able to get a vein. Just knew, I have to get it done!
- I'd also have to say this was the PEAK of my field of vision loss, 90% could not see at all..
Monday, Jan. 22- Received the call from the optometrist that my blood work was good but the MRI did show lesions.. (acceptance started to sink in.)
Tuesday, Jan. 23-25- Had an appointment with the Neuro-ophthalmologist where he confirmed the findings of my MRI, it was extensive enough to show that I do have Multiple Sclerosis. This same day I began 3 day IV Steroid infusions immediately to reduce the inflammation in my optic nerve.. everything was happening so FAST! buuuut, i'm so grateful that it was..
Friday, Jan. 26- Throughout all of this.. I was supposed to finish my IV steroids yesterday & begin taking tapering oral medication but all in process my parents were trying to get me an appointment with a neurologist who specializes in MS. Got in touch with my neurologist who saw my film & quickly ordered me 2 more IV infusions based on her findings.. Once again, went back to the medical center same day for IV treatment.
Saturday, Jan. 27- This morning I did more blood work ordered by the Neurologist & finished the last day of my IV infusion.. for reals this time. Continued taking tapering medication all until the day before my appointment, I felt that the steroid medication was giving me strong nauseating side-effects.
Wednesday, Jan. 31- Met with my MS Neuro specialist.
- This was the appointment I was anticipating for, to finally talk to someone who knows all about my case & to get my answers. I was accompanied by my parents, aunt & boyfriend.. (their support throughout this whole thing has been my biggest blessing.) Luckily, this visit was more manageable & less nerve-racking based upon the circumstances.. My specialist is so informative and understanding that I felt so comfortable knowing that she specifically works with MS patients leaves me with relief..
- We did a neurology test. I was surprised because it was simple cognitive tasks or coordination, checking my nerves/reflexes & if all wasn't going on.. i'd say this is a easy test. I was schooled, lol. Something that is simple actually brought me some difficulty.
- Discussed my timeline of events & now that I think of it.. everything actually went further back than my Optic Neuritis episode --- I posted about Costochondritis at the beginning of the year.. (https://www.reeshespieces.com/nwttoaxbiewv27gjqnowogyd3veh00/2018/01/02/costochondritis) who knew this is known as a "MS hug" ?? I had no idea the two associated with one another, but apparently it does.
- Previewed and discussed my film, saw 2 small white spots on the gray matter of my brain.. then she kept scrolling & apparently there were MORE in eloquent places! She counted 15 & even on my brainstem. This was my "Damn, I didn't know it was this bad...." moment.
- Waiting for pending blood work results but discussed medication options & with how severe my condition is.. there is a lot to take into consideration.
- I will do anything to make sure my health is taken care of..I know I am placed in good hands & we are gonna shut this down, ASAP!
Friday, Feb. 9- I had an appointment with my Primary Care Physician where he went over all my test results & blood work. Just a follow- up/routine check up. Before he came in to see me, I was talking to my parents about the stories i've heard with MS & how it is a 'miraculous' disease. The doctor mentioned that it is a great thing that I am responding well from the steroids. Mom & dad kept telling me that I was a 'miracle baby' ( never really understood that but continue to my upcoming posts & you will see what I mean..) He asked if I had experienced any abnormal signs of behavior or any temporal seizures.. That alarmed me but I don't think so at least? Thank goodness. I really am one of the fortunate ones..
Tuesday, Feb. 13 & Wednesday, Feb. 14- Did another MRI of my Cervical & thoracic neurologist said it showed lesions on my spinal column on my T9 &T10. Following day I did blood- work which levels came back normal, thank you lord! but I am happy with how smoothly things are moving & will get treatment SOON! stay tuned.. for Tysabri.
Now that I have expressed in full detail what I have experienced, I do believe it is only improvement from here.. I would like to continue to inform & inspire people about MS.. Please take everything I publish with a grain of salt, this is from my own personal experience. I am still newly diagnosed/educated about my illness & am currently going through the motions.. bear with me. I'd hope that this information I provided would help someone else out there just as raising awareness & knowledge about MS or for someone who may be experiencing something similar.
If anyone has any questions or would like to talk about any specific topic of MS.. Feel free to message me directly.
Stay tuned for my MS segments, where next I share about "the Reflection" aspect of my MS.